Friday, January 13, 2012


The snow is falling.  Isaac is playing at the kitchen table:  Race cars, monster trucks, and "Pop the Pig" are having a convo of sorts...

Then, he does it.  Two times in a row.

He, unconsciously pushes a forced breath of air through his sounds like wheezing...or a bit like struggling for air...and then he clears his throat.  Sometimes the combination of these sounds changes.  But, no matter the combo, it starts to bother me.  Not just because it is annoying, but because Isaac is completely and fully unaware that he's making these sounds.

He's been doing this for a week or so now, and I thought it was something serious.  But...there have been no symptoms of anything to hint at illness...and there is no rhyme or reason to the sounds.  When I ask him if he's okay or if he needs a drink, he looks at me like he has no clue what compelled me to question him. I needed a second opinion.

" I just a nervous mom?"  I half jokingly asked the pediatrician at yesterday's appointment.  "Well,"  the doc said, "this is common in kids this age...they develop habits that stick around for a little while...sometimes they're gone in days...other times months."  I asked about allergies, about how this may relate to his delays...I nodded in approval, a rote action, (maybe my OWN habit) but I was thinking far beyond the examination room.  I was thinking of how to help Isaac deal with this.  And how I can stand hearing him make this concerning sound over and over again.

I started researching...tic:  "a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups."  I know Isaac enjoys repetition.  But I haven't seen him do much of this for a long time...

I start a log:  When he makes this sound, how what situations...

So far, after this calculating...I have no answers.  

And with kids, that's the only thing you're guaranteed--lots of questions, and often, no specific answers.  

I'm hoping this little habit will dissipate like the doctor told me.  Til then...I'm trying my best not to let it get to me.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Daddy's boy

"Mommy, is daddy coming home tomorrow?"

The question has been asked approximately 407 times in 2 days by Isaac.

I look down into his big baby blues.  I take his hand and walk with him to the calendar on the kitchen wall.  "Let's look."  I point to the January 9-square and then count with him...until we are ten days out.  "This is when Daddy comes home from China."  There is a deep sigh, signaling a resolve...for the moment.  Schedules always seem to calm and refocus my son--and I feel I've helped reassure us both.  Then...softly..."I miss Daddy, much..."

It's hard not to be kind of jealous, actually.  And this is a good thing.

For moms, we take satisfaction in being needed.  We may not rejoice in it and we may not admit it; but we do.  From tied shoes to wiped mouths to dried eyes; slathering on sunscreen or Neosporin with a Bandaid; hugs, kisses, washing up or tucking in...the list can seem endless while simultaneously monotonous...

But this is part of the gift of motherhood:  loving without condition, and giving without expecting.  We mothers know our kids before we see them.  We have a picture of them without having to look them in the eyes, and this picture is enough.  We just feel.  It's what we do...

For a long time, Dan struggled to connect with Isaac.  My husband is a talker and a visualizer, and to have a son so limited verbally, and who barely made eye contact was like the two existed with a giant heavy wall between them.

Of course, Dan loved him, but he really truly couldn't see him...or be seen by him.  He, like most fathers, needed to see.

Then, one day, as if the stones from the wall had been slowly removed one by one--the separation between Daddy and son was dismantled.  Words were like a bridge--paragraphs like long lost love letters recovered and read over and over as they would engage in little conversations here and there...told imaginary stories in the dark at bedtime...shared silly jokes...talked about things they saw.  I watched as a relationship was created, and those stones that once separated them, now closed them in together as a team; a pair who discovered they were more like one another than they knew.  They share something that is untouchable.  They needed each other to open BOTH of their eyes.

I am proud of my husband for being patient.  He has stood the test of time and the silence that once enveloped his relationship with Isaac...

But I can say with a full, deeply joyful and jealous heart, that Isaac is a Daddy's boy. And I'm just fine with that.

hand in hand

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


" I five now?"

It's the end of Christmas break for both of my boys.  There have been late nights and even later mornings of sleeping in; movies, baking, playing "Food Fight" and "Operation" and "Battleship"; trips to Grandmother's house, church, playdates, parties...[taking a breath] falling asleep on Daddy's lap, playing with new toys, drinking egg nog like it's going out of style.  It has been a fulfilling, beautiful, and memorable 2 weeks--one of the most lovely holiday times in my memory.  That being said, my brain has lost track of what day it is.  Forget about multi-tasking at this point...folding laundry and trying to have a conversation is just harder than it normally would be.

"Um...yes, you're five now."  I put down the socks I'm trying to match and think for a minute...

I thought about when I was little...having a birthday on December 29th wasn't always so fun.  I didn't get to bring cupcakes to school and have a party.  Everyone was gone.  Opening Christmas/birthday presents was something I was used to, and never complained about.

So when I was spending my own 28th birthday in the hospital with a newborn, pink-faced baby boy whom we named Isaac Josef, I knew he and I would understand.   I was already imagining the celebration a year from then--and resolving that he would always come before me, in every way.  His birthday, December 28th, is a day before my own.  And he was one of the best presents I ever held.

5 years have passed.  And the gifts still keep coming...

Every day I get to unwrap something new with Isaac:  A new look, a new joke he's discovered, a new emotion he's tapped into.  The excitement isn't just bursting at the seams the last week of the year--it's every moment.  That little baby who fit into a small Christmas stocking the day he was delivered, still manages to fit into my heart.

The birthday boy
Happy birthday to Isaac.  Happy birthday to me.  Happy New Year to you.  May it be filled with new discoveries that keep on giving...